The UK parliament is meeting on Wednesday to debate Prime Minister Theresa May’s progress in securing a Brexit deal and vote on a series of non-binding Brexit motions and amendments.
One of the key questions lawmakers will vote on is whether to extend the deadline for the UK to leave the European Union and whether to prevent a no-deal exit.
Macron and Merkel weigh in
Ahead of the debate, Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed Brexit during a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
At the press conference after their discussions, both leaders made statements about an extension to the process — with a slight difference in tone.
Merkel said that Germany and France “agree completely” that the already-negotiated withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK stands.
However, she added that the EU would not refuse the UK more time, if an extension was requested. “If Britain needs a bit more time, we will not refuse that, but we are aiming for an orderly solution — an orderly withdrawal by the British from the European Union,” she said.
Macron said there was a need for a clear objective if any delay was envisaged: “We would agree to A50 [Article 50] extension only if it is justified by a new choice by the British.” He added: “In no way can we accept an extension without a clear objective.”
UK parliamentary process
The Speaker has provisionally selected the following amendments that may be voted on this evening. They are:
(a) – @jeremycorbyn
(k) – @IanBlackfordMP
(c) – @spelmanc
(b) – @AlbertoCostaMP
(f) – @YvetteCooperMP
Read all amendments here: https://t.co/ixbSf1kxMc pic.twitter.com/JOkVbGThfW
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) February 27, 2019
The motions being voted on in the UK parliament on Wednesday are:
The Labour Party’s amendment (a) to negotiate with the EU for changes to the Political Declaration, a non-binding document that accompanies the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement, to secure a customs union, close alignment with the single market, alignment on rights and protections, participation in agencies and agreement on security arrangements.
A cross-party amendment from Scottish National Party MP Ian Blackford (k) to extend the period of leaving the EU until the end of 2021 and prevent a no-deal exit.
A cross-party amendment presented by Conservative MP Dame Caroline Spelman (c) to prevent a no-deal exit from the EU.
Former Conservative minister Alberto Costa’s amendment (b), backed by 141 MPs, to ensure EU citizens’ rights in the UK after Brexit, with or without a deal.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s motion (f) for confirmation of Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to a second meaningful vote on the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement by March 12. The motion also calls for parliament to hold a vote on whether to extend the Brexit deadline if it rejects both May’s deal and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.
An amendment calling for “a public vote on whether to proceed with exiting the European Union on terms agreed by Parliament or to stay as a member of the European Union,” will not be considered by lawmakers.
Ahead of the votes, May repeated that she did not want any postponement: “The government’s policy is to get the legally binding changes so a deal can be brought back to this house… and we can leave on March 29 with a deal,” she said.